Saturday, January 5, 2008
By KEVIN CALLAHAN
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS 4, BISHOP EUSTACE 1
Turning point: Christian Brothers scored in the first period on a goal by Kyle McAleer to take the lead for good at the 9:52 mark.
Key players: Crusaders sophomore right winger Jaime Hill scored the lone goal for Bishop Eustace. Mark Rivera collected a goal and an assist for CBA.
Did you know? In the latest state ice hockey rankings by the Newark Star Ledger, Christian Brothers Academy is ranked No. 1, Delbarton is ranked
No. 2 and Bishop Eustace is No. 3. St. Augustine is No. 4.
Although the talented Bishop Eustace Prep ice hockey team just lost twice in three days, the Crusaders are far from panicking about the season.
And, for legitimate reason.
Both of the losses were to Christian Brothers Academy, which is ranked No. 1 in the latest state ice hockey rankings by the Star Ledger. Bishop Eustace is No. 3.
"Our goal is to stay competitive, get to the division playoffs and then the state playoffs," Eustace coach Mike Green said after enduring a 4-1 loss on Friday at the Flyers Skate Zone in another tough Gordon Conference game. The Crusaders suffered their second defeat of the season on Wednesday at CBA 4-2.
Bishop Eustace came into the game tied with No. 4 St. Augustine and No. 6 Seton Hall Prep in fourth place in the unforgiving Gordon Conference behind No. 1 Christian Brothers and No. 2 Delbarton and No. 5 Bergen Catholic.
"I think it is too early in our division to give in to anybody," Green said.
In addition to losing to CBA twice, the Crusaders (2-3-1 and 5-3-1 overall) also lost to Delbarton 3-1 in the first meeting between the two teams. Eustace played Delbarton to a 1-1 tie later in December.
"I think Christian Brothers will be the first team to tell you that being No. 1 in the state that they don't look like it as being No. 1 in the state. They look at it like (being) in the Gordon Division as anyone can beat anyone if you don't bring your strong game," Green said.
Christian Brothers coach Ryan Bogan agreed. Winning twice against a top-ranked team in three days was an impressive feat for CBA (6-1-1 in the division).
"No doubt about it," Bogan said about the sweep. "To beat a team like Bishop Eustace back to back is great for us."
Bogan said his team had the Crusaders in its sight for a couple of weeks now.
"We were looking forward to this week since the Christmas break," Bogan said. "We know how tough of a game it is against Bishop Eustace. We are fortunate to move on."
CBA took a 3-0 lead into the third period before Crusaders sophomore right wing Jamie Hill scored the lone goal for Eustace.
"We let ourselves chase the game," Green said.
Hill, who is on the Crusaders' top line with senior left wing Kevin Harding and senior center Alex Wooley, scored short-handed.
"I thought we had some momentum then," said Hill, who is from Glassboro. "But they had a 5-on-3 and they killed us at the end when they popped in the goal."
Hill scored with 8:50 left in the game, but Ryan Farrell made it 4-1 on the two-man advantage with 4:49 to play.
"They are a really good hockey team," Hill said.
Although the game against top-ranked CBA is now behind them, the Crusaders can't let up. Eustace plays at rival St. Augustine on Jan. 14. Before the emotional matchup with the Hermits, Eustace plays Bergen Catholic on Jan. 9 and it follows with a contest against Pope John on Jan. 16.
"We learned we have to continue to support each other and know that it is going to take everybody's combined effort to compete with these teams," Green said. "We have Bergen Catholic, Pope John and St. Augustine right around the corner and all these games will be tough."
Reach Kevin Callahan at email@example.com